THE TEXTILE OF THE
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BAMBOO
Struggling to imagine how strong bamboo stems are used to make such wonderfully
soft clothing? Bamboo is a unique textile product that comes with a number of striking
properties. They’re properties that have a positive impact on your comfort, and also on
global environmental concerns such as water scarcity, deforestation, soil erosion, green-
house gases and the current nitrogen crisis.
Despite the increasing popularity of bamboo textiles, the majority of consumers are
still unaware of the benefits provided by bamboo. This has motivated us to develop
this e-book dedicated to this unique textile product. We’re happy to be able to share
what we know about the properties of bamboo to help you make a conscious choice
between bamboo and other textiles.
Copyright © Bamigo BV
Authors: Tom Meijer & Celeste Seffelaar
THE MOST INTERESTING AND VALUABLE
INFORMATION ABOUT BAMBOO CLOTHING
1 WHAT BAMBOO CONSISTS OF 4
2 HOW SOFT BAMBOO CLOTHING IS MADE 6
3 HOW BAMBOO DIFFERS FROM COTTON 9
4 THE ADVANTAGES OF BAMBOO CLOTHING 11
5 HOW BAMBOO CONTRIBUTES TO A SUSTAINABLE WORLD 13
6 ABOUT THE PRODUCTS WE MAKE FROM BAMBOO 17
IN THIS E-BOOK, YOU’LL FIND OUT:
A UNIQUE PLANT
Here you can see the inside of a bamboo stem, otherwise known as a bamboo shoot. In addition
to its unique shape, the trunk has transverse bulkheads at irregular intervals in the cavity, which
are visible as outer ridges. These transverse bulkheads are permeable to water and air. The cells in
the wall of the bamboo stem consist of 50% lignin, 40% cellulose fibres and 10% vascular bundles.
As most people have, perhaps you’ve always thought that bamboo is a type of wood. While bamboo may be hard
and have impressively strength, it’s important to remember that it’s a species of grass. Like any plant, bamboo has
roots. Unlike other plants, however, the bamboo stem has a characteristic round shape and hollow structure.
WHAT DOES BAMBOO CONSIST OF?1
Let's take a closer look at the cellulose fibres that are used to produce bamboo clothing. In the
longitudinal direction of the trunk wall, bamboo consists of these unique cellulose fibres. They are
strong and play an essential role in determining the trunk’s compressive strength. Compressive
strength is the degree to which a material can withstand compressive forces without warping. This
is comparable to the reinforcement of concrete.
In the cross-section displayed to the left, the increasing number of fibre bundles towards the
inner edge of the trunk is clearly visible.
(Source image: Bambusa)
The hollow shape of the bamboo trunk is 1.9 times more efficient as
a building material as the rectangular cross-section of a wooden
beam. This leads to material savings. Combined with the strong
fibres, this makes bamboo an exceptionally suitable building
material. One of Mother Nature's most brilliant inventions!
BAMBOO PROCESSING TECHNIQUES:
Not surprisingly, bamboo is frequently used in the construction of
products and buildings. The use of bamboo is more evident in some
products than others. A bamboo raft, for example, clearly demon-
strates the materials used, while bamboo clothing leaves more to
the imagination. This is to do with the fact that there are several
techniques available for the processing of bamboo. Each of the
four processing techniques is illustrated below:
SAWING SHREDDING CRUSHING TRIMMING
FROM BAMBOO STEM TO SOFT CLOTHING
Now that we’ve unravelled the inner workings of the bamboo plant and established that we use the shredding
technique to process our bamboo, It’s time to look at how we turn these tiny bamboo particles into wonderfully
soft clothing. It's a complex process, but we've done our best to make it as clear as possible using a visual
Our bamboo is harvested in China from the plantations of certified suppliers. Only the
shoots are harvested. The bamboo plants’ roots remain in the ground So that after the har-
vest, the shootsbegin to grow again. As the plant grows so rapidly, we can harvest
bamboo for use in our clothing up to 6 times a year.
After harvesting, the bamboo stems are shredded into tiny chips. This is done using larger
rotary cutting machines. Bamboo fibres are small elements of the bamboo stem. These
fibres are eventually used to produce bamboo clothing.
These bamboo chips are then boiled in a bath of sodium hydroxide and carbon disul-
phide. Techniques are continuously improving, and waste materials are now reused to
ensure they do not contaminate the environment. These techniques are not yet perfect,
but developments continue at a rapid pace. This process results in a mushy mass known
as bamboo pulp.
After a few days, the cooled bamboo pulp is pressed through small holes in a sulphuric
acid bath, where it hardens and forms fine threads. These threads are used to spin
bamboo yarns of varying thickness. .
WASHING, BLEACHING AND DRYING
Now that we've processed the bamboo, it is called bamboo viscose. These bamboo
viscose yarns are washed, bleached and dried – these are the final steps before the
yarn is woven into soft bamboo clothing.
MAKING BAMBOO CLOTHING
After washing, bleaching and drying, the bamboo yarn is combined with other materials
such as cotton yarn. This careful fusion of threads reinforces the fabric. The result is the
most comfortable clothing in which bamboo is by far the most important component.
In the next chapter, we explain how to minimise the impact of cotton use.
DID YOU KNOW?
MOST BAMBOO SPECIES GROW BETWEEN
5 AND 20 CENTIMETRES EACH DAY.
THE WORLD RECORD FOR THE ‘FASTEST GROWING PLANT’ IS SET AT 91 CENTIMETRES IN A SINGLE DAY.
IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT THIS RECORD IS HELD BY A BAMBOO SPECIES: BAMBUSA OLDHAMII.
THERE ARE SPECIES OF BAMBOO THAT ARE MORE THAN
30 METRES HIGH AND 20 CENTIMETRES IN DIAMETER.
BAMBOO SHOOTS AUTOMATICALLY REACH THEIR MAXIMUM DIAMETER AS THEY GROW
FROM THE GROUND. THEY DON’T GET THICKERN WITH AGE, LIKE TREES DO.
BAMBOO CAN GROW ON PLANTATIONS AS WELL AS IN FORESTS.
OOUR BAMBOO IS ONLY HARVESTED FROM THE PLANTATIONS OF CERTIFIED SUPPLIERS.
3 BAMBOO VS COTTON Most of the clothes we wear are made of cotton – and cotton is far from being environmentally friendly. Thankfully, there's a solution to that problem: bamboo! Why have we chosen to use bamboo
in our clothing, though? We've listed the differences between bamboo and cotton that show why bamboo is
such a good choice.
In short, bamboo is better for the environment than cotton in many ways. Not only is the plant itself more sustainable,
but also the way it is grown and cultivated ensures that it is an environmentally friendly alternative to cotton.
Cotton is the water guzzler amongst textiles! On
average, 8,000 litres of water are needed to grow a
single kilogram of cotton.
Additionally, cotton is responsible for no less than
11% of all pesticides and 25% of all insecticides used
in the world.
The soil cotton plants are grown in becomes so
exhausted during cultivation that artificial fertiliser is
required to revive the it enough to enable contin-
ued cotton production.
Bamboo needs nothing more than sunlight and rain-
water to grow. There is no need for artificial watering.
No pesticides, insecticides or fertiliser are required
to grow bamboo.
After cutting, the fast-growing plant continues to
grow new shoots, as its roots remain in the ground.
Approximately 10 times more bamboo can be pro-
duced per square metre than can be produced
using cotton plants.
Fortunately, there is a solution to reduce the environmental impact of cotton cultivation: organic cotton. The differ-
ence between organic and regular cotton cannot be identified by the naked eye. The difference lies in the produc-
tion process. The production of organic cotton uses techniques and materials with a low environmental impact.
Organic cotton, for example, is grown without the use of pesticides or artificial fertiliser and is spun without the addi-
tion of chemicals. We remain committed to producing cotton in our products as sustainably as possible.
Bamboo fibres have a
round and smooth structure.
Cotton fibres have a
coarse and rough structure.
Nevertheless, cotton is also incorporated into our products. That sounds contradictory, so we'll explain. Cotton fibres have
a property that bamboo fibres do not possess: the coarse cotton fibres provide sturdiness and structure in clothing.
4THE ADVANTAGES OF BAMBOO CLOTHING Not only is bamboo less harmful to the environment than cotton; when used in clothing, it also offers many advantages that cotton does not have or where the effect is less noticeable. We wouldn't dream of depriving your of these benefits.
Another great advantage is the unparalleled softness of bamboo textiles and the excel-
lent comfort offered. The smooth structure of the bamboo fibre is the secret behind this
Fabrics made using bamboo offer excellent ventilation thanks to the microscopic holes in
bamboo fibres. This is why